THE NEPTUNE CHALLENGE
(sequel to the award-winning The Neptune Project)
Genetically engineered to survive in the ocean, Nere and her friends are recovering from their long, treacherous journey to refuge and settling in at Safety Harbor. Despite its name, plenty of dangers still lurk just outside the colony's boundaries. When two among them are kidnapped, the remaining Neptune kids and their loyal dolphins must set out on a mission even more perilous than their first: infiltrate the kidnapper's fortress to save their friends and steal away a vital scientific secret that may save the world and its oceans. Fighting terrifying mutated creatures and teens, will the Neptune kids find a way to save their friends, themselves, and their underwater world? The stakes couldn't be higher in this thrilling sequel to the award-winning The Neptune Project.
Our Safety Harbor inlet is calm this morning. Small swells lift and lower me gently. Already the sky overhead is starting to gray, and clouds along the horizon blush pink and red. I can just make out the hardy spruce trees that cling to sharp outcroppings along the shore. The morning is quiet except for the rush of the nearby surf and the cry of a gull winging its way across the dawn sky.
Mariah, the leader of my family’s dolphin pod, finds me bobbing on the swells. Her little calf, Tisi, swims a tight circle around me while her daughter Sokya rushes up and flips water in my face.
“What worries you this morning?” Mariah asks as she cranes her head out of the water so she can see me better. At forty, Mariah is a grandmother several times over. Her teeth are a little worn, and her right side is scarred by an old shark bite, but her eyes are still bright with intelligence. Mariah is also amazing at reading my moods.
“There’re so many people at Safety Harbor,” I try to explain while I rub Sokya’s favorite spot, in front of her dorsal. The slick, rubbery feel of her skin is familiar and comforting. “And they all think Dad’s awesome and great at running things. I’m afraid they expect me to be just like him. That Janni girl wants me to join her Sea Rangers and help fight the Marine Guard and sharks, but I just want to work with dolphins.”
“You led us safely here through many fights and many miles of sea,” Mariah reminds me.
I wince, remembering the dangerous journey my friends and I had to make from the southern sector to reach my father’s colony. I hadn’t really led everyone here safely. Two of our group died on our trip to Safety Harbor, and we lost sweet Pani, one of Mariah’s granddaughters, all killed by Marine Guard divers sent by the Western Collective to capture or eliminate us.
“We never would have made it here without your help,” I say to Mariah.
“I helped the most,” Sokya declares. She leaps out of the water and lands on her side, dousing me with a wave.
Polly Holyoke is a former teacher and loves reading, camping, skiing, scuba diving and hiking in the desert. She lives in Plano, TX with three rescue dogs, two spoiled cats and a nice husband who tolerates piles of books all over their house. Her debut middle-grade novel,The Neptune Project, was published by Disney/Hyperion and was selected to the 2014-15 Texas Bluebonnet Master List along with state reading lists in Maryland and Ohio. It was also named one of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of 2014. Her second children’s book, The Neptune Challenge, was released May, 2015.
Here you can find a treasure box of information about the series, the sea, and writing. There is information for school/group visits, use in the classroom (including curriculum guides), and links for extended research.
You can contact Polly, and her publicist via the “contact” page.
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I received a copy of this book from the author and Texas Bloggers for Texas Authors for an honest review. After being genetically altered to to survive in the ocean, Nere, her family and others have succeed in living in a place called Safety Harbor. Nere has a special bond with the Dolphins and are a vital part of her life. Everything seems to be going smooth in this new enchanted place she calls home. But tranquility is not to last for long. A kidnapping has occurred and Nere and her friends want to go rescue her friends. But there is one very big obstacle standing in their way. They must first pass an intense test called the SPA or Simulated Patrol Challenge. This is a mock trial to see how they handle a mission while under extreme pressure. Can they pass the test? Will the challenge be to much for them? As the team duscivers why their frurnds were kidnspoed, there is a sense of urgency to rescue them and stop someone from developing his own species that could be so powerful, they could take over the sea. Nere will encounter deadly sharks , and other creatures that will do anything to stop the team. The author has written a great undersea adventure that has you on the edge of your seat. The action is fast and leaves you wanting to read faster so you can continue the journey. I am amazed at the detail of the sea and the majestic creatures the author vividly describes. As I read the book, I felt myself in a tank watching fish swim by and then Nere and her team racing furiously past me as they take on their biggest threat to their world. As you come to the last few pages you begin to how that there will be another book to continue the adventure you have been in. I don't usually read science fiction books and tend to overlook them when picking out books to read. My opinion of science fiction has now been changed thanks to Polly Holyoke. Thank you for introducing me to a genre that I now have a fondness for. I will be eagerly be awaiting another book from Polly.